A few months ago, I was looking through the “stats” page for this site, when I suddenly noticed one of the Google queries that had led someone to this site. The question went something along the lines of “are splatterpunk novels still being written ?”
This was an interesting question since splatterpunk fiction is one of my favourite types of horror fiction and I absolutely loved reading old second-hand splatterpunk novels from the 80s and 90s when I was a teenager. But, apart from a couple of old-school splatterpunk authors who still sometimes work in the genre (like Shaun Hutson), there aren’t really a huge number of splatterpunk writers out there these days.
But, that’s not to say that splatterpunk is dead – far from it. It’s just that splatterpunk fiction has influenced the horror genre as a whole – and made it ok for horror stories to be as gruesome as the author wants them to be.
As such, “splatterpunk” novels aren’t being written that often today because, in a strange way, the genre has served it’s purpose. If your horror story features a few gruesome scenes, then most people will just think of it as “ordinary” horror fiction, rather than “splatterpunk fiction”. This probably wouldn’t have been the case thirty or forty years ago.
The same sort of thing is also kind of true for the cyberpunk genre too – after all, it was a daring vision of the future in the 1980s. But, these days, we all use the internet. In fact, unless you’re reading a printout of this article, then you’re using it right now. You’re using something that was a key part of a “futuristic” type of science fiction back in the 1980s. Just let that sink in for a moment.
But, the cyberpunk genre has – in it’s own way – had a huge influence on the science fiction genre as a whole. There are more than a few “ordinary” modern science fiction novels that are set in dystopic versions of the future, where the world is ruled by large corporations. This (mostly) came from the cyberpunk genre.
Not to mention that many ‘near future’ science fiction films, comics and computer games made since the early-mid 1980s are at least slightly visually influenced by old cyberpunk movies like “Blade Runner” and “Akira”.
So, it isn’t that obscure old genres such as these have been “abandoned”, it’s just that they’ve kind of been absorbed back into the genre that they came from. They’ve become part of the mainstream idea of what that particular genre looks like. Although they may have started out as a way to rebel against the traditions of a particular genre, they’ve ended up becoming one of those traditions.
Of course, the important question here is whether you should work in one of these old genres or not. The answer to this question is pretty simple – if you like the genre, then work in it. If you don’t like the genre, then don’t work in it.
But, even if you decide not to work in one of these old genres, then there’s a good chance that at least part of them will end up in your work anyway.
For example, even if you’ve never read a splatterpunk novel before, then there’s a good chance that some splatterpunk stuff might creep into your horror novel or comic without your knowledge – for the simple reason that it’s an “ordinary” part of the horror genre these days. The modern horror stories that might have inspired you to write one of your own have probably been at least slightly inspired (directly or indirectly) by old splatterpunk novels.
So, yes, you might already be writing something in an obscure old genre without even really knowing that you’re doing it.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂